by Thomas James A. Basaca

The philosophical journey of 8 SACFH seminarians namely, Thomas James Basaca (Cebu), Jon Rey Ismael Batayola (Palo, Leyte), Giftren Codaste (Dumingag, Zamboanga del Sur), Jan Joffred Comaingking (Compostela Valley), Hilario Idulsa, Jr. (Baclayon, Bohol), Macario Petallo II (Davao City), Philip Portillo (Palo, Leyte), and Marthy John Silubrico (Zarraga, Iloilo), has recently ended but also heralds a new beginning for them all. This was highlighted on March 22, 2014 during our commencement exercises.

Four years ago, SACFH welcomed 27 new collegians coming from various regions of Visayas and Mindanao. A mixture of spoken languages, culture, character and personality made for an initial struggle but eventually we came to a better knowledge and understanding of each other. These lads became my friends, my brothers, and my family. Being away from our families made it harder for each one of us but we later found a home amidst our individual differences. However, I had learned one thing in the end, that in the midst of diversity, we can always find some similarity. As a batch, we made a name that would capture our aspirations and goal and even the reason why we chose Redemptorists as a place to nurture our vocation. We called ourselves Alphonsian Adherents, followers of Christ the Redeemer through the guidance of Alphonsian Spirituality. The name we chose served as a connecting thread that kept the batch in solidarity. It was not a good start in the beginning, but as the days went by, we became very comfortable living in the community.

The song Kaibigan has been close to my heart for it reminded me of the times when an Adherent chose or asked to leave the seminary. The batch usually sang this song after a farewell message of the seminarian. It had been a sad reality that not all would really reach the finish line together. Every year, the 27 collegians were reduced in number. From twenty-seven to twenty-three. Twenty-three to sixteen. Sixteen to fourteen. And from fourteen down to eight. Hopefully, these 8 graduates who thrive to the end will always respond to the name chosen by the twenty-seven.

We were all taught by our formators to always focus on our studies. All the major and minor examinations we had would have never have brought success were it not for all the encouragement and advice given by our formators and teachers. They also reminded us that the key to excel in Philosophy was to develop a love for reading. Even making a thesis would require constant reading. Indeed, we had developed a certain kind of discipline. As a manifestation of this, the majority of us garnered major and special awards. All the hard work we had done over the four years of our academic journey paid off.

Learning does not end after the graduation day, as long as there is still an opportunity to live and encounter God in every person we meet. It continues as does Formation. These 8 graduates have already made further decisions regarding where to proceed next formation year. There are four who will proceed to the Postulancy program namely, Giftren, Hilario, Philip, and Marthy. Two of the remaining four namely, Thomas James and Jon Rey, will proceed to the new program made by the province, the Post-Graduate Aspirancy program (PGAP). The two remaining graduates have considered another path of formation but have not closed their options to knock once again on the doors of the congregation.

May all that these lads have started be brought to completion for the sake of Christ’s Mission.

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